Suggestible You Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Suggestible You helps you understand and utilize the power of your mind-body connection by explaining the effect that your thoughts have on your body, including pain, illness, and memory and how to take advantage of it.

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You already know your brain is incredible. But did you know that just on its own it has the ability to relieve pain, heal you from sickness, or even trick itself? The key to unlocking this potential is suggestion. 

Your brain runs on expectations. And it doesn’t like to be let down. Rather than facing reality and changing beliefs, it sometimes would instead change reality. Through suggestion, you can tap into this power and your mind can do amazing things. 

In Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal, Erik Vance delves into the fascinating world of expectation and suggestion.

From the placebo effect to hypnotism, you will be impressed by the incredible ways your brain can trick itself. And most importantly, Vance will help you harness this power and use it to improve your own life.

Here are just 3 of the many fascinating lessons I got out of this book:

  1. Placebos work by the power of suggestion.
  2. Suggestions can affect the very decisions we make and we don’t even realize it. 
  3. You can use this power of expectation to better your life.

You are going to read this summary and you are going to like it. Just kidding, this isn’t about Jedi mind tricks! Let’s get to it!

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Lesson 1: The placebo effect is very real and it is a product of the power of suggestion.

When we take a drug for pain, we sometimes feel relief almost immediately. But in truth, most medications take about 15 or more minutes to kick in. This is like the placebo effect, the phenomenon when you experience benefits from a drug or treatment that doesn’t actually have any. In other words, your brain creates a benefit based on expectation. 

It’s a well-documented effect that many people believe has a lot of untapped potential. The author says it’s likely the reason for successes in homeopathic medicine. It also could be the key to helping baffling cases chronic pain. 

How can this be? Your brain actually already has the chemical arsenal it needs to treat pain, in the same way opioids do-by releasing endorphins.

And it doesn’t stop there. Our brains produce endocannabinoids, which are found in Marijuana and help with pain, as well as dopamine and serotonin, which have to do with mood. 

All of these chemicals are particularly sensitive to the placebo effect. So your brain has all the resources it needs to help itself with ailments such as pain, anxiety, nausea, depression, or addiction.

However, studies show some people are more suggestible than others. So, if you’re one of the lucky ones, you will experience more benefits from the placebo effect.

Lesson 2: We often make decisions based on suggestions and we don’t even realize it.

Suggestibility affects many of the choices we make every day. Companies know this, and use it to make their products taste better to you. And no, I don’t mean that they just make them seem to taste better, they know that suggestion can make them actually taste better.

Packaging and presentation create an expectation, and your mind will happily want to meet that expectation by making something taste better. 

Don’t believe it? In a study investigating this power of expectation, a researcher told participants that she was comparing two milkshakes, one diet shake and another full-calorie one. She packaged the low-calorie shake with a no-frills and sensible label and gave the full-fat one a luxurious label. 

Unbeknownst to the participants, both actually contained the same amount of calories. Not only did they report the full-fat version tasted better, but when the researcher measured the participant’s hormone levels, she found those who drank the diet milkshake produced more ghrelin-the hormone tells us we’re hungry. Just thinking that they weren’t going to consume as many calories is enough to make them feel hungry. 

Expectation also plays a role in addiction where people get caught in an unfortunate loop. A drug gives pleasurable sensations, and the brain, overwhelmed by this, reduces dopamine production to restore balance. The less dopamine you have, the less pleasure you feel. Soon, you will need more and more of the drug to achieve the same pleasurable effect.

Lesson 3: If you want to improve your life, you can start taking advantage of the power of expectation.

By now, we understand the power of expectation and its ability to do some crazy things. Throughout history, ritualistic and faith healings have shown it can work. While some of their claims may be questionable, there is a way you can bring this power into your own life. 

First, you need to know and understand yourself. Because much of it relies on the power of storytelling, ask yourself what types of stories you find engaging or inspiring. While some people might trust in ancient wisdom, many people don’t believe anything that isn’t established by scientific evidence.

Additionally, some people need meditation and solitude while others do best in a group setting. Find what captures your individual imagination to discover a specific approach that works for you. 

Additionally, because we all have different levels of suggestibility, get to know what yours is. Experimenting with hypnosis is one way to find out how suggestible you are. 

The author gives some rules of thumb for discovering how you can use this power in a smart way. The first is to make sure that you don’t place yourself in any kind of danger. This means being careful with unregulated supplements or substances that people say can help you. Always read the label. 

The next rule is to not give up on traditional medicine. Alternative therapies can help but use these along with needed medical treatments to ensure you don’t harm yourself.

Next, make sure you don’t bankrupt yourself in a search for placebos. If someone is asking for hundreds of dollars for a supplement they probably are trying to take advantage of you.

Suggestible You Review

Suggestible You has such fresh and intriguing ideas. What if the key to our health and happiness lies within our own brains? You will be amazed at what your mind does without you even realizing it. The book is full of captivating scientific facts and stories, I just wish it had a little more actionable advice.

Who would I recommend the Suggestible You summary to?

The 26-year-old who has seen people be miraculously cured but has no explanation for it, the 49-year-old that is curious about why the body is so good at healing itself sometimes, and anyone that wants to know how their mind and body work.

Last Updated on September 19, 2022

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Luke Rowley

With over 450 summaries that he contributed to Four Minute Books, first as a part-time writer, then as our full-time Managing Editor until late 2021, Luke is our second-most prolific writer. He's also a professional, licensed engineer, working in the solar industry. Next to his day job, he also runs Goal Engineering, a website dedicated to achieving your goals with a unique, 4-4-4 system. Luke is also a husband, father, 75 Hard finisher, and lover of the outdoors. He lives in Utah with his wife and 3 kids.